Heart songs and other stories

Annie Proulx

Book - 1995

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FICTION/Proulx, Annie
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New York : Toronto ; New York : Collier Books ; Maxwell Macmillan c1995.
Physical Description
203 p.
Main Author
Annie Proulx (-)
  • On the antler
  • Stone City
  • Bedrock
  • A run of bad luck
  • Heart songs
  • The unclouded day
  • In the pit
  • The Wer-trout
  • Electric arrows
  • A country killing
  • Negatives.
Review by Booklist Review

Many of these nine short stories, set mainly in rural New England, come from literary magazines, but some were first published in outdoor and gardening journals. Proulx is at ease writing about nature, whether she explores the undertow of the backwoods or examines the way her haunting, clearly drawn characters are attached to-- or isolated from-- the land. As they beautifully depict the rituals of small-town life, these stories suggest the writing of Andre Dubus and Ernest Herbert. There is plenty of room on the backroads for E. Annie Proulx's pickup truck. IMF.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The acclaimed debut short story collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Downtrodden country folk in New England are at the heart and soul of this compilation of 11 short stories. The stories focus on rural activities (hunting or fishing) and sometimes delve into class differences between the poor townspeople and the rich outsiders. Although the subject matter may not appeal to every reader, the stories flow effortlessly and the prose is elegant. In "Heart Songs," Snipe pursues a calling in country music while recognizing in himself "a secret wish to step off into some abyss of bad taste and moral sloth." The author refers to another character as "thin as a folded dollar bill, her hand as narrow and cold as a trout." Proulx creates vivid characters with a clever turn of phrase or an illuminating analogy. This collection, initially published in 1988, includes two new short stories: "A Country Killing" and "Negatives." Recommended for most collections, though libraries with the 1988 edition may wish to pass.-Kimberly G. Allen, Network MCI Lib., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Short stories about life in today's rural New England: expertly commanding in their detail of the daily life of farming and hunting, but offering little by way of originality of idea. Stories of ancient vengeance and life-long grudges creak under the weight of their myriad literary forebears. Two old men have been enemies since schooldays and still try industriously to cheat and outwit one another (""On the Antler""); in ""Bedrock,"" a widower's farm is gradually wrested from him by his young second wife--a Snopesian schemer who, it turns out, seeks vengeance for the widower's having once defiled her in her childhood; and in ""Stone City,"" a mean and murderous backwoods family has all but died out but still haunts a man in an ironic, generational twist. A central theme in other pieces is the gentrification of the land (""These few narrow acres were all that was left of the home place""). In the lopsided satire of ""The Unclouded Day,"" an affluent city slicker who's moved to the country for summers tries to become a grouse hunter by paying preposterous sums for lessons (he's an absurdly hopeless shooter); and in ""Heart Songs,"" a shallow-minded guitar player slums around among the backwoods locals, seeking to verify his own romanticized notion of the deeper and truer life of the uncultured. In spite of the quickly wearing effect of the us-versus-them satire, a vivid sense of place is at work here, as in the descriptions of deep-swamp fishing in ""The Wer-Trout"" (a man falls off the wagon after his wife leaves him) or in the rundown farmhouse-and-pickup-truck life of ""A Run of Bad Luck"" (a young man is two-timed by his wile); but, beyond their detail, the stories stretch plottily for their concepts or bed down lazily in familiar old tropes. Sharp-eyed in their execution, but often less so in what lies beneath. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.